California's infrastructure gets poor grades
Most everyone agrees California's infrastructure hasn't been up to par in years. The American Society of Civil Engineers just rated our bridges, transit system and our roads. In 2018, California roads received the grade of D.
Democratic leaders in three states warned again Friday they are ready to challenge the Trump administration in court, alleging abuse of power, if it moves ahead with plans to weaken tailpipe emission standards, and they criticized the auto industry for welching on a national agreement to roughly double fuel economy targets.
The city of Los Angeles will explore whether it can block companies from doing business at its port if they use truck drivers classified as independent contractors under a motion introduced Friday by two councilmen. Drivers at the port have complained for years that the practice is a scheme to deny them just compensation, and drivers and warehouse workers have engaged in 15 labor strikes in the past four years. The most recent strike in June involved several large companies that do transport business at the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. “The city of Los Angeles must ensure that all workers who contribute to the operations at the Port of Los Angeles be afforded a safe work environment, fair wages, and guaranteed rights and benefits,” states the motion by Councilmen Joe Buscaino and Bob Blumenfield.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has removed some climate change references from a website about a trucking industry efficiency program. The site for the SmartWay program has removed mentions of “carbon” and “greenhouse gases,” replacing them with terms like “sustainability” and “emissions,” according to the Environmental Data & Governance Initiative, which has been tracking EPA website changes under the Trump administration. The general emphasis on climate change has been reduced dramatically, along with the focus on international efforts under the program, the group said in a Friday report.
The California Air Resources Board reached settlements with Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Company (BNSF) and Union Pacific Railroad Company (UPRR) to resolve violations of the state's drayage truck regulation, which requires cleanup of trucks servicing the state's busy ports and intermodal rail yards. An investigation by CARB's Enforcement Division documented that both companies had failed to accurately report all the required information for noncompliant trucks entering 12 separate intermodal terminals. Intermodal terminals facilitate transfer of goods from train to truck or vice-versa. BNSF agreed to pay a total of $720,000; UPRR will pay $525,000. The cases highlight CARB's efforts to mitigate the damaging impact that older, dirtier trucks have on nearby communities that have traditionally borne the brunt of diesel pollution due to the high volume of truck traffic near the rail yards. 'CARB's commitment to protecting these disadvantaged communities near rail yards is unwavering,' said CARB Executive Officer Richard Corey. 'Union Pacific and BNSF have done the right thing by acknowledging their mistakes and agreeing to take steps that will reduce emissions and immediately improve the quality of life for those who live and breathe near the yards.'
Electric truck trial benefits for US port
A US port could benefit from a feasibility trial of cost effective zero-emission freight handling using all-electric trucks. GSC Logistics said that its three-year trial to test battery-powered big rig technology will take place at the Port of Oakland from this September, and depending on the outcome, these trucks could be integrated into its fleet. “The purpose of the demo is to prove that battery-operated trucks can work in real world applications and port operations,” said Scott Taylor, CEO, GSC Logistics. California’s Air Resources Board initiated the zero-emission truck trial last year. It’s sponsoring a test with five battery-powered rigs in Southern California concurrent with the Oakland study.
EPA walks back delay of Obama air pollution rule
The Trump administration is reversing course on its plan to delay by one year enforcement of the Obama administration’s ozone pollution regulation. The reversal, announced late Wednesday, came a day after 15 states and the District of Columbia sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), saying the delay exceeded the agency's authority under the Clean Air Act. Environmental groups filed a similar lawsuit last month. In a statement announcing the decision, the EPA emphasized that it will continue to work with states on implementing the ozone rule, which could include more targeted enforcement delays. “We believe in dialogue with, and being responsive to, our state partners,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said in the statement. "Today's action reinforces our commitment to working with the states through the complex designation process."
Oakland, Calif. – Aug. 2, 2017: A major Port of Oakland-based trucking operator plans to test battery-powered big rig technology here in September. GSC Logistics said today it will launch a three-year trial with a heavy-duty, all-electric truck. The test is part of a statewide effort to determine the feasibility of zero-emission freight hauling. GSC, the Port’s largest motor carrier, becomes the first Northern California drayage company to test battery-powered trucks. CEO Scott Taylor said his firm would consider purchasing additional rigs if the trial is successful. “The purpose of the demo is to prove that battery-operated trucks can work in real world applications and port operations,” said Mr. Taylor. “Depending on the efficiency, reliability, productivity and economics of battery-powered trucks, GSC would certainly entertain the possibility of integrating them into our fleet in the future.” California’s Air Resources Board initiated the zero-emission truck trial last year. It’s sponsoring a test with five battery-powered rigs in Southern California concurrent with the Oakland study. Shenzhen, China-based BYD Co. is manufacturing the trucks.
Are new-tech trucks ready to replace diesel, keep California’s pollution-fighting promise?
The race to replace Southern California’s biggest polluter is on. It’s going to take science, time, money — and maybe an assist from Elon Musk. At the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, an ambitious $14 billion clean-air plan calls for the elimination of dirty-burning diesel equipment by 2035 — $9 billion just to purchase and deploy trucks. It’s not going to be easy or cheap to replace the iconic workhorse of the region’s economy. About 16,000 diesel trucks tote tons of cargo — nearly 40 percent of all goods imported into the country — from the ports to the warehouses and deployment centers of the Inland Empire. “It’s going to be extremely expensive and the technology is not there,” Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, told his commissioners last week.